Cold berry soups are a taste of childhood for many who grew up in Eastern Europe, as did Zuza Zak, author of Amber & Rye: A Baltic Food Journey. Zak’s favourite variation uses ripe blueberries, though you can use any fresh summer berries you like. This sweet “dessert soup” can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack or as the sweet end of a delicious meal.
Garnish the blueberry soup with whipped cream, mint leaves and edible flowers such as pretty blue cornflowers to echo the colour of the blueberries.
Eastern European Summer Blueberry Soup
The taste of childhood for many who grew up in Eastern Europe, berry soups are always served during the hot summer months. Elsewhere, I’m not sure how this sort of soup might be thought of and eaten – for breakfast, as a snack or a dessert. To me, it’s still undisputedly a soup, so here we are, at the end of the soups chapter: a dessert soup. If you haven’t tried this kind of soup before, then you really must, just as soon as the summer berries are ripe and ready. Different berries are used to make soups and there are many variations, but this blueberry version has become a firm favourite of mine.
- 400 g 14 oz) blueberries
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
- 3 tablespoons caster, superfine sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
- Whipped cream, torn mint leaves and edible flowers, such as cornflowers, to serve
Reserve a few of the berries to serve on top of the finished soup, then put the rest into a large saucepan with the vanilla bean, sugar and 1 litre (4 cups) of water. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the berries are soft.
In a small bowl, mix the cornflour with 100 ml (3½ fl oz) of water until smooth. Add to the pan and stir constantly until the soup thickens. Remove from the heat and allow the soup to cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with whipped cream, the reserved berries and a whimsical scattering of mint leaves and
For more about Baltic cuisine, check out our full review of Amber & Rye: A Baltic Food Journey by Zuza Zak.
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Recipe from Amber & Rye: A Baltic Food Journey by Zuza Zak published with permission from Murdoch Books (RRP £25). Book photography by Ola O. Smit. Our photography by Nicky Bramley.